Remember when I was going on and on about New Year’s resolutions a few weeks back? So many of you told me your resolution had something to do with your hair. Specifically, about how frequently you wash. Since I had this little debate with myself last year, I thought I’d pass along some of the things I learned in my journey to less-frequent lathering. It can be a tough road, but in the end, I swear, it’s all worth it.
First up, less-frequent washing really is the right thing to do. I’ve tried everything from daily to weekly to semi-weekly to not at all (yes, I’ll do anything for science), and I’ve found that washing twice a week is really the magic number for me. Any more than that and I start to notice serious dryness and scalp troubles. Any less…and well, my hair actually loves it, but I start to get nervous.
So, a few tips, tricks and thoughts to cling to when the going gets rough:
1. This process takes about a month to get right. So, prepare yourself for a few weeks of discipline (you’re going to want to wash that hair so badly!), and a few bad hair days. You’re going to want to cave. You’re going to think your hair looks awful. Your scalp is going to feel weird. But just like any other change in a beauty routine, your hair needs a few weeks to adjust and regulate its oil production. But it will adjust, I promise. Give it time – things are about to get awesome. And remember, this is why God invented the up-do.
2. Not washing doesn’t mean no water. It means less water (my hair gets wet roughly every other day) and no soap. I do a rinse and a light conditioner on the days I’m not washing (the conditioner isn’t necessary, but helps). Essentially, it goes like this: on days I plan to blow dry, I wash and condition my hair. Then I make myself go 3 days before washing again, just living off the glory of the blow dry from day 1. On days I air dry, going a second day isn’t an option, so I do the rinse-and-condition routine.
3. When you do wash, go easy. Use maybe a nickel-sized amount of shampoo, rub it into your hands first, and then massage it into just your scalp, avoiding your ends. Give it a good 10-second scrub, then rinse. When you condition, do the exact reverse – aim for the ends, and skip the scalp.
4. You’re going to need a dry shampoo. It absorbs excess oil, and helps with itchy, annoyed scalps. I haven’t found that brand matters all that much – it’s almost entirely corn starch, so this isn’t rocket science. I’m currently using Blow’s Faux Dry, and it’s great. Get one that’s easy for you to apply, whether it comes in a shaker, an aerosol or a “pouf” bottle (like the one from Blow). And stay away from colored dry shampoos. They rub off everywhere, and are a pain. To apply, part your hair somewhere other than your natural part, then put a small amount (go easy, I cannot stress this enough!) of dry shampoo on the part line. Repeat a couple of times, using different part lines, then brush through your hair and apply a blow dryer to dissipate the powder. Don’t panic when your hair looks white – brushing and blow drying will fix it.
5. Go easy on styling products. Remember, once it’s in, it’s staying for a few days. So, go light, particularly on serums or oils in the beginning, as they’ll weigh your hair down a lot more by day 3.
6. You’ll want a great brush – preferably boar bristle – to get you through. Use it at night to really massage your scalp and distribute oils evenly throughout your hair. Plus, it helps remove some of that product from tip #5. It makes a difference, I swear. I happen to love my Mason Pearson, but I recognize they’re exorbitantly expensive. Get the best you can afford/justify, and call it good. But go 100% boar unless your hair is ungodly thick.
Once you get through your break-in period, I promise you’ll have happier hair waiting for you on the other side. Hair that needs less blow-drying, less product, less serum, less oil, less conditioner, and generally less work. Hair that looks healthy. Maybe not Jennifer Aniston-healthy, but hey, baby steps.
What do you think? Are you ready to give it a try?